Ramadan and Hari Raya shopping kicks off

People seen buying and browsing for gold at a jewelry store here in Johor Baru.

PETALING JAYA: i-Sinar has brought some shine to what would have been a lacklustre Ramadan and Hari Raya, says Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin.The Malaysia Retail Association vice-president noticed an 80% increase in business at shopping malls compared to pre-pandemic levels but said this growth was only hindered by the physical distancing rule.

“This is the maximum capacity businesses can reach for now, ” he said.

With many employees receiving their salary around March 25 as well as i-Sinar money, he also observed many shoppers buying other things besides groceries.

So far this week, shoppers have been snapping up Ramadan and Hari Raya essentials as both seasons are around the corner.

There were also those who were buying back-to-school items as secondary schools are expected to reopen in early April.

While he was happy to see malls and shops filled with shoppers again, Ameer advised shoppers to spend their i-Sinar gain wisely instead of splurging unnecessarily.

Separately, Perak Goldsmith Merchant Association secretary May Lee Mun Mee said goldsmiths in the state have recently noticed a 20% to 30% increase in sales and believe part of the reason to be buyers having money to spend from i-Sinar.

“We believe it is also a change in mindset as many people understand that they can also invest their money in gold instead of just putting it in a savings account, ” she said, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic had driven many to look for other options to invest their life savings.

On March 24, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said up to March 14 this year, i-Sinar withdrawals of RM52.48bil had been approved for 5.94 million applicants.

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